Thursday, October 4, 2007

Chicken head

This is the Chilean phrase I learned today. It's so interesting to learn idioms in other languages. We're so used to the ones we say that we don't stop to think how weird they actually are. But when it's a struggle to understand a new language, than the oddity of the idioms are plainly obvious! I may understand the words, but I have no idea what they're saying! Today one of the maintenance men at school asked me my name (he had asked be about 6 weeks ago but obviously he'd forgotten. He's been calling me senorita ever since). When I reminded him, he remembered that I had told him once already. Then when I gave him a little hint on how to remember, he said he would be able to now. He then proceeded to say, "What a chicken head!" (to which I thought, hmmmm, interesting. I know this guy is infamous for his idioms, so what is he trying to say?) Luckily he followed it up by saying, "I always forget things." And through my amazing abilities to put two and two together, (thanks to my 1st grade math teacher, of course) I figured it out. Chileans use a TON of idioms, which makes life to interesting! (Just a few other examples: "What a can!" means "What a shame!" and "What a bad wave!" means "That was totally uncool!"...there are so many more. I now have a book entitled "How to Survive in the Chilean Jungle: and Learn the Catchphrases in English." It's very helpful!)

Well, that is not the real reason I'm posting tonight, but I thought it would be interesting for you! It's been awhile since I've written, and for good reason. It's been a busy couple of weeks, and a whirlwind of emotions! Everything from the fear of having to leave my cozy home here and move somewhere else, to the frustrations of having both of my Spanish tutors cancel in the same week, to the disappointment of having to back out of a weekend excursion to Argentina because it'll mess up my visa situation, to the headache of hearing a lot of complaining from the students since there's a large amount of end-of-the-quarter work to do. Whew! It makes me tired just writing about it! Lest you think that I've been in a constant state of turmoil the last 2 weeks, I have had several great moments, and innumerable average ones. :o) Some of the great moments include my first visit to a Chilean home on my own. I've had dinner with Chilean families before, but always with other Americans where I could just sit back and listen and answer a few questions. Or I've been the only English speaker among Chileans, but it's been in a big group where I can sit back and listen. But this visit, I was the guest, and for the most part the conversation centered on me. It went pretty well, and I really enjoyed myself. I was able to understand the majority of what they were saying and come up with a rough approximation of what I wanted to say. Although, my friends brother does not understand the concept of talking with a foreigner. He's so nice, but almost impossible to understand! I only caught about 50% of it. If I didn't understand, he would reword it. Of course, I still wouldn't understand because he talks a mile a minute. So I'd ask him to slow down, which he would, but he still spoke very inarticulately. Several times his sister had to translate for him (and by that I mean translate his Spanish into her Spanish, and then I understood). It was a good time overall! And great practice for me. The people are so nice and patient here. It's allowed me to be very bold in trying to speak!

There have been other great moments as well. I met an American my age that I think I can be friends with (the first person who fills all three categories of being my age, speaking English, and having enough in common to make friendship likely). Also, I went to a dinner with all the other ABWE missionaries in Santiago. Good food, fun conversation, great people. What more can you ask for? I also went out with a group of Chileans on Saturday after our Bible study. Although I didn't understand everything, it was still nice to be out in a social setting with a group of nice, fun, godly people. It felt like I was with my friends at home (except in Spanish, of course), and I laughed a lot. I look forward to the day I can truly get to know these people and vice versa. They really are incredible. I've been blessed to have found a church filled with people who are so accepting and genuine.

Wow, it's getting late. I need my beauty rest since I have a busy weekend ahead of me. I still have one more day of classes, of course, and then I'll be spending most of my weekend figuring out the quarter grades for 42 students. And on Saturday I'll be going to a Chilean wedding. Yay! I look forward to the weekend, but I have the feeling that I'm going to start my week exhausted! Please pray that I will have the focus and diligence to get everything done and still have time to rest! I thank you all for your prayers and your notes of encouragement! Just to know people care enough to pray for me and are interested in reading this is such a blessing to me! Thank you so much!

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